Rotterdam votes against rezone

With negative comments from the community citing safety concerns for children and residents, the plans for a re-entry center on Christler Avenue in Rotterdam were voted down.

The town board of Rotterdam unanimously voted against a resolution to rezone 1921 Chrisler Avenue for use as a re-entry center for the Federal Bureau of Prisons at their Wednesday, April 28 meeting.

The resolution, which would rezone the property from light industrial to multi-family industrial, would be used as a re-entry house for federal offenders being released into Albany, Schenectady and Rennselaer counties. Community members spoke out against the proposed plan, citing safety concerns for children at nearby schools and recreation centers and the loss of an industrial base in the town, if the plan were to be approved.

Jason Colwell, a local business owner on Chrisler Avenue, pointed out many issues with the change of zone and the proposed housing including the lack of bus routes, nearby schools and residential neighborhoods as reasons to vote against the zoning.

\I don't believe this is an appropriate place for this project or zone change, said Colwell. "I'm just looking at my life and all of my work flashing before my eyes."

District Executive of the Schenectady District of the Boy Scouts of America Twin Rivers Council, Damien DeDonatis said he is relieved that the zoning did not pass.

"The main point here is child safety. Something like this is a red flag for me," said DeDonatis.

The town agreed with the residents concerns, citing the loss of a tax base in the industrial property. Before the meeting, Town Supervisor Frank Del Gallo had said he was against the rezoning of the property and said he does not see the benefit of the property in the town where he would like to see an increased tax base.

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